Business & Industry

graphicWhen it comes to creating new jobs, the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater area is one of the fastest growing labor markets in the country. The region ranks 10th among the nation’s top 100 labor markets, according to a study by American City Business Journals, the Charlotte, NC-based parent company of the Tampa Bay Business Journal, and more than two dozen similar publications. In fact, out of the 10 fastest growing labor markets in the study, only two others, Atlanta and Phoenix-Mesa, have more jobs than the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater market, which includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Citrus, and Hernando counties.

While many consider the communities of Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Riverview and Sun City Center to be bedroom communities to Tampa, there also are thousands of people who live and work here. Manufacturing companies in the area produce farm and agricultural equipment and supplies, machined parts. Some of these same companies also perform secondary operations including assembly and finishing. State-of-the-art precision equipment and well-honed quality control assure products that meet the most demanding specifications.

Agriculture is very much a part of the area’s heritage and present economy. Known for decades for quality produce, especially tomatoes, farmers in and around Ruskin continue to harvest a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. Upscale restaurants in the Tampa Bay area even feature Ruskin produce by name on their menus.

Farming is not limited to the edible variety.

Ornamental plant nurseries, sod farms and tropical fish nurseries are scattered throughout SouthShore. In fact, tropical fish are the second largest air freight item shipped from Tampa International Airport. The economic impact of agriculture is significant. Agriculture production and its support industries throughout Hillsborough County account for $1.5 billion in annual sales, 19,000 jobs, and $249 million in annual earnings (payroll and profit). A majority of the dollar value of agriculture is from commodities such as strawberries, ornamental plants, and aquaculture, which can produce a high dollar value on small acreage. Agriculture generates additional local economic impact by supporting related businesses.

The SouthShore region, which boasts an increasingly vibrant economy and higher than average income, offers developable land, a favorable business climate and lower taxes, all in a business friendly environment. Combining SouthShore’s growing industries with area tourism, retail and technology provides for stimulating and diverse opportunities in Florida’s fastest-growing metro area.

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